In order to be prepared when I bring my Frenchie puppy home, what supplies do you suggest I get?

A food bowl and a water dish – We recommend dishes large enough for him/her to grow in to (we like bowls which will hold at least a quart/4 cups/32 oz). We like dishes with large bottoms so they do not tip over easily. We love the stainless steel ones because they will last a life time and cannot be chewed up. Hard plastic dishes are acceptable, but they won’t last as long, tend to become chew toys, and can harbor bacteria.

Puppy food – We are now using PawTree’s all-life-stages turkey and sweet potato chow for all of our new puppies and moms. We strongly recommend that you use this chow for at least the first month after you receive your new puppy (you can order it from our website > Great Products > PawTree). After this period of time, assuming all is going well, you can transition over to a high-quality puppy or all-life-stages chow from another respected company if you choose (although we recommend that you stay with PawTree for the life of your pet). Just be sure you use a high protein (at least 26%), high fat (at least 16%), and high fiber (at least 4%) dry puppy chow that has meat as the first ingredient(s) and does not include corn, wheat, or soy. Of course, it should have the required vitamins and chelated minerals (designated as proteinate), and other important nutrients. We avoid wheat, corn, and soy fillers as they can be harder on your puppy’s digestive system and organs, and they can also make him/her gassy. We have also known of a few Frenchies that were gluten intolerant.

If you plan on switching dog food brands, we advise doing it gradually so the sudden change does not cause any irritation to your puppies/dogs digestive tract, which may result in loose stools and/or diarrhea. If you decide to change brands of dog food, mix 25% of the new brand with 75% of your existing brand. If he/she tolerates this well, mix 50/50 for a couple of days. If he/she is still doing well, mix 75% of the new brand to 25% of the old brand for a couple of days. If things are still going well, switch over completely to the new brand.

We also advise using a fantastic supplement we were introduced to by a breeder friend of ours called NuVet. Please read about it under “Great Products”. You can order from the link we provide at a substantial discount from the retail price. We try to include a sample pack in the puppy packet we provide to you.

Treats – You can purchase commercially prepared puppy treats from any number of outlets including PawTree from our website, but your puppy will also love small pieces of cheese, hot dog, chicken, or beef just as well as any purchased treats. These should be given in moderation as a reward for doing something well. To insure a healthy, trim puppy, avoid feeding him/her table scraps. Also, raw hide should never be given to your Frenchie as a chew toy. They can swallow a chunk of it which will swell in their stomachs and potentially cause serious health risks.

An additional plus for the NuVet supplement tablets mentioned above is that your puppy will love them and think they are treats. It’s like giving your child a piece of fruit as a snack instead of a cookie.

Leash and collar – You’ll probably have to start off with a puppy leash and collar and get a new set when he/she is full grown. We have tried the body harness and they are fine (we prefer the “Y” shaped harness’ over the “8” shaped), but a regular collar works best for us due to the ease of use. Because Frenchies have flat faces and their breathing is less efficient than a long nose dog, make sure your Frenchie is trained early to walk on a leash so that he/she does not resist and put excessive pressure on the trachea. If he/she is being stubborn, start off with a harness instead of a collar.

Kennel – This is a must in order to properly potty train your pup and when you need to keep him/her in a confined area for brief periods of time. We were made aware of a new specialty kennel from one of our clients, which we think you should consider, called the Potty Training Puppy Apartment (PTPA). This is an improvement on the kennel concept we were using to potty train our pups. More information on this unit is included under the question “What is the best way to potty train/kennel train my Frenchie puppy?”, which also includes a discount code you can use if you decide to order one. If you have the room, we recommend the large size, although the medium size will work if space is an issue. If you decide to get a standard kennel, get one big enough to hold him/her when they are full grown (approximately 20 to 30 pounds), but not so big that they might relieve themselves in the extra space. They will not want to soil their sleeping area, but if it is much bigger than necessary they might use the extra space as a bathroom.

Pee pads – If you will be using the PTPA, as mentioned above, there are specialty pads made just for the kennel. Otherwise, we recommend the pee pads which can be purchased at Costco. You can find similar pads in pet stores.

Toys – It is important to have plenty of chew toys and bones for your puppy. They will be teething during the first year and it will help him/her avoid chewing on inappropriate things – such as table legs and shoes. Make sure to stay away from chicken bones or any bones that could splinter or break off and get lodged in their throats. Avoid rawhide, unless it is compressed rawhide (which means it is in very small compressed pieces that are digestible). We, and our Frenchies, love the Nylabones – they are made of very durable nylon that will last forever, and our dogs love to chew on them, which is very good for their teeth and gums.

We also recommend getting soft, cuddly toys/stuffed animals as well. They don’t last as long and you will eventually find the stuffing scattered around, but your puppy is used to snuggling with his/her litter mates and initially this may help him/her to adjust.

One of our favorite toys is braided rope made especially for dogs. Our dogs and puppies have a ball playing tug-a-war and keep-a-way with them. They are very inexpensive (they can even be found in most dollar stores) and they are extremely durable. If you don’t want to spring for one of these, a knotted sock works pretty well also.

There is a tremendous variety of dog toys available on the market and we try to have a good mix for our dogs’/puppies’ enjoyment – such toys as balls (some of our dogs really love to fetch), bones, empty plastic shampoo or water bottles, stuffed animals, rope braids, squeaky toys (a big hit), etc. The point is to have a nice selection of toys to keep them entertained and out of trouble. Make sure that their toys do not have little parts they could chew off that could get stuck in their throats. You will find that every dog has his or her favorites and he/she will let you know what they are.

Dog shampoo – There are many good dog shampoos on the market and it is really just a matter of personal preference. They can be purchased at any pet store, Walmart, etc. Years ago, when we owned a Yorkie, our vet recommended using baby shampoo because Yorkies tend to frequently get goop around the eyes and the baby shampoo allowed us to clean the area around their eyes without irritating them. We still use baby shampoo with our Frenchies since they have lots of folds on their faces that require regular cleaning. If you do go with a dog shampoo choose a mild formulated shampoo for sensitive skin; your vet may have some good recommendations. (For more information on bathing/cleaning your Frenchie see “How often should I bathe my Frenchie?”).

Toothpaste – If you give your Frenchie’s teeth a little TLC it will pay big dividends in the long run. In addition to having several good chew toys, which are great for their teeth, you should apply toothpaste to their teeth and gums on a weekly basis. You will notice that it said apply and not brush. A dog’s saliva does not have the enzymes, like we do, to breakdown food particles stuck in the teeth. Doggie toothpaste has those enzymes. Just put some paste on your finger (or a brush) and rub it on the teeth and gums. If you do it regularly it will reduce the number of expensive teeth cleaning trips to the vet that will be required during your Frenchie’s life.

Pooper scooper – A pooper scooper is a MUST at our house! We highly recommend using the kind that has a flat blade on the end of the raking tool versus the kind that has prongs. Even very healthy Frenchies will sometimes have loose stool, and the prongs just don’t get the job done. What we find works best for us is to use a 5 gallon bucket (with a lid) that is lined with a durable trash bag. We use this as our “poop bucket” and we only have to change the trash bag as needed. The lid keeps foul odors trapped inside.

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Optional:

Dog pillow (once potty trained) – Dogs are like people in that they love to lay on something soft and comfortable when resting. Until our dogs are potty trained, we use old, soft towels and blankets for their bedding, which are very easy to launder. Though it is not a necessity, our dogs love their over-sized pillows and they spend a lot of time sleeping and lounging around on them.

Puppy play pen – A playpen is a good idea when you want your puppy to be confined to a certain area of the house or yard to keep him/her out of trouble or out of danger, yet you want them to be able to have a bigger space to move around in than his or her kennel. It is what we like to use when we can’t keep a close eye on one or more of ours or if we have to leave the house for a couple of hours. We have one that we bought at Petsmart that is 25 inches tall made of durable plastic which is collapsible, fairly light, and easy to set up.

If you have a small room in your house (such as a laundry room) that is puppy proof, you may not need one; however, puppy pens are very practical for many who want to control their precious Frenchie puppy, while at the same time give it some freedom. Because it is is transportable (unlike a laundry room), we like to set it up in our main room (not on carpet) where they can see all that is going on around them and we can see them. Make sure to always have fresh water available for him/her. We like to keep a soft blanket or towel at one end and their pee pad at the other.

Doggie gate (same concept as a baby gate) – There may initially be areas in your house that you may not want your puppy having free access to roam until completely potty trained. Putting up a doggie gate(s) will allow your puppy to have a larger area to investigate without getting on carpeted areas or another area you want to make off limits. Our laundry room is right off of our kitchen and main living area, so, at times, when we have a puppy in our laundry room, we will use a doggie gate instead of closing the door so he/she can still feel a part of things.

Clothes and accessories – Although our Frenchies’ wardrobes are pretty slim, you may be one of the many people who love to dress up their babies, and have a lot of fun doing so! You can find cute accessories and outfits at pet stores, and there are lots of options on line.

Nail clippers – Generally, your puppy’s nails will only need to be trimmed every month or so, and it is really not much more difficult than trimming your own nails. If your dog is on cement much of the time they probably won’t need to be clipped at all, except for the dew claw. Some people do not feel comfortable clipping their dogs nails and will take them to a groomer or vet. However, if you want to save time and money it is a fairly simple task that takes only a few minutes. There are two types of of clippers: a guillotine or a scissor type. The guillotine is the easiest to use. The instructions that come with the clippers will guide you on how to use the instrument. Light claws are easier to cut than dark claws as the blood vessels and nerves that supply the toenail, called the quick, is easier to see. Cut the toenail to within approximately 2 mm of the quick. If you cut into the quick, the toenail will bleed and the dog will experience pain, nothing serious, but they might not sit too still the next time you undertake this task. When cutting dark toenails, it is better to cut just a little off at a time. Some people who have dogs with dark toenails cut them once every week or two so that they only have to trim off a little, avoiding any fear of cutting into the quick.